What happens when you feel in the dumps? Do people ask about you? Do they care? What happens when your normal self turns into self-pity and doubt? Does anyone come along beside you and tell you to keep your chin up? I didn’t think that I did. In fact, what I had been saying for a few weeks now is that life is not giving me what I am putting in and it frustrates me.

I just ended up moving on mentally and gearing up for my next big battle with life. Less excited about the possibilities of life and more dreading all the work ahead of me.

Then, I came home from work and took a shower, combed my hair and put lotion on my face. Trying to forget all that has taken place, actually all that has NOT taken place is more accurate, and move on. When a friend knocks on my door and wants to meet me in the dayroom. There is a small gathering there and I assume its to get me to play a game, which I was already deciding how I was going to deny.

I have been depressed for days and have tried to talk to people in small doses but have generally stayed away from all of them. That’s what depression does, it isolates you. Most of my friends have seen a change in me and though they have asked what’s wrong I didn’t confide much in their ability to help me problem solve, mostly because it wasn’t one thing but several.

So when my friends presented me with a hand drawn card signed by all of my friends, those who care with all kinds of little notes of care, it was a shock. Far from what I expected but exactly what I needed. That’s how I know that I have made a difference and that I have had an impact in peoples lives. Because when they see someone hurting they take the time to listen to what’s wrong, something that only a friend can do with any accuracy, and then do something about it to help. In this case my friends new that I was feeling like I wasn’t making any kind of an impact anywhere. But that couldn’t have been further from the truth. 

Remember that I am in prison and inmates, killers and rapists and drug dealers, made a card that has a drawn picture of me as a queen on a runway that pops out with a stage behind it, all 3-d and signed by many who legitimately care. It’s by far one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me. I am going to send it home and see if my family can put a picture of it up for everyone to see. 

That little card represents the good in a group of people that most had given up on. Even though the world has seemingly given up on them and their ability to make changes within themselves and their community, I didn’t. I didn’t give up and neither did they. I am so proud of what they have done, sometimes I can’t save everyone, sometimes I need saving too. Glad it was them.

With Love
Jeff Utnage